The Kazinga Channel
Kazinga Channel is a notable natural feature in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Channel connects Lake George to Lake Edward, which is larger. Streams of water flow into Lake George from the Rwenzori Mountains. This water then flows into Lake Edward via a 32-kilometer-long conduit. The natural flora around the canal supports a diverse range of species, including hippos, buffaloes, elephants, and birds, which we will examine further later.
Kazinga Channel Attractions
With an estimated population of 16,000 hippos, the Kazinga Channel contains one of the biggest concentrations of hippos in East Africa. The channel’s banks offer a haven for the wildlife that live in Queen Elizabeth National Park. During the warmest part of the day, they congregate along the canal to wash and drink water. Others travel to the channel to enjoy the cold wind on a hot day. Elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, and waterbucks are among the common creatures spotted along the waterway. On rare instances, lions and leopards visit the canal to hunt or drink water. The dry season, or when there is no rain, is the greatest time to watch wildlife along the waterway.
The Kazinga channel contributes significantly to the birding life of Queen Elizabeth National Park, rendering it one of the top spots in Uganda for birdwatching. The waterway is home to over 58 documented species, which may be seen in the clear waters or along the channel’s marshy sides. Yellow-billed stork, saddle bill stork, jacana, marabou stork, long-tailed cormorants, African shoebill, African skimmer, black meat eater, grey crane, and other species have been spotted in and around the canal. During the afternoon boat cruise around the channel, you may observe this beautiful mix of birds.
Boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel
How is the Boat Cruise put together? Two boat tour sessions are planned along the Kazinga waterway. One begins in the morning, between 9 and 11 a.m., and the other in the late afternoon (2:00pm – 5:00pm). Each boat ride lasts 3 hours. Tourists are taken to the Mweya dock by their tour operators and handed over to Uganda Wildlife Authority (if utilizing the government ferry) or Mweya Safari Lodge workers (If they are using a private boat). A quick introduction and explanation on what to expect and not anticipate during the boat voyage is provided. Following the briefing, questions on the boat ride experience are asked.
The boat excursion departs at the Mweya port in Lake Edward, as previously stated. Tourists are then transported via the canal to Lake George. After two hours of exploring the waterways of Kazinga and observing various animal species, they are delivered back at the Mweya Dock, where their corporate tour driver awaits. One of the most popular activities at Queen Elizabeth National Park is a boat tour in the Kazinga Channel. It has been in operation since 1952 and is thus a must-see on any safari in the park.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority and Mweya Safari Lodge possess boats that operate along the Kazinga channel. In general, their boats are safer and more pleasant. Tourists can encounter fisherman and locals doing business while on a boat cruise around the waterway. Fishermen are busier in the nights since hippos are less active at that time. Hippos are more active early in the morning and ready to leave the water for grazing when the sun is not too scorching. Meeting these fishermen and the surrounding community will introduce you to their way of life, as well as their problems and potential.
Aside from the activities along the Kazinga Channel, travelers may also visit the Queen Elizabeth National Park’s other sectors for birdwatching, Chimpanzee trek in Kyambura Gorge, nature walks, and lion tracking in the Ishasha sector.
Best time to visit
The dry months of June to October and December to March are ideal for visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Kazinga waterway. During the dry season, water holes dry up, leaving only the bigger lakes and the Kazinga Channel as viable sources of water. During the rainy season, the number of animals collecting along the canal is low, impacting the quality of boat tours. If you want to go birding, the rainy season is perhaps the greatest time to visit the Channel. Around this season, migratory birds from all over the world visit the Channel. The rainy season is also when birds breed, making them easy to detect in their nests.
Other Attractions in Queen Elizabeth national park
The Ishasha sector, located in the southern section of the park, is not as popular as the Mweya region and has only lately established a consistent tourist flow. This is not to argue that the amount of animals is restricted. The Ishasha area of Queen Elizabeth National Park is the greatest spot in Africa to witness Tree Climbing Lions up close and personal. Visit Uganda to see the amazing Sights and Sounds of the Ishasha Sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The terrain of the Ishasha sector is unique from that of the remainder of the park, consisting primarily of savannah grasslands and riverine woods.
Climbing a Tree Lions at Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Ishasha section are frequently observed hiding in trees. Although it is unclear why these lions like to climb trees, locals claim they do so to obtain a better view of their unsuspecting victim and to avoid Tsetse insects on the ground. During the wet season, the lions normally climb trees, and there are around three prides in this area of the park. Visitors will see large herds of buffaloes, kobs, antelopes, elephants, and hippos near the Ishasha River, in addition to the famed Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha.
Kyambura Gorge, located in the extreme east of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is known as “the Valley of the Apes.” The lush forest that covers the gorge’s sides is a good home for chimps, the result of decades of erosion by the Kyambura River. Towering 100-meter-high granite walls surround dense vegetation, swampy marshes, and enormous crater lakes, giving the impression that you’ve reached another universe. Chimpanzee trekking is a famous wildlife experience in Uganda that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the world of chimps. The hikes run around three hours and involve up to an hour with the chimps in their natural environment. You should be able to see them from a safe distance of 8-10 meters. The gorge is home to only 17 chimpanzees, and your odds of sighting them are roughly 60%. The sights and sounds of the forest create anticipation and enhance the enjoyment of a sighting.
Mweya Peninsula, located in the Rwenzururu sub-region of Kasese District, is the most visited destination inside Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Mweya Peninsula, located on the northern side of the Kazinga Channel, gives access to the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward. The Mweya Peninsula’s attractiveness stems from the combination of its transportation linkages via Mweya Airport, the availability of decent lodging, and its abundant wildlife.